Archive for the 'Mammals' Category



It may have been the contact lens curling 42 degrees of heat but the quest for a Koala was not going well. Any mammal was hard to find. It was said that I might as well look for a leprechaun! Sure, I could go to a zoo and see these bloody things hanging from every branch but who wants to see them in an enclosure. I wanted to see one of these enigmatic symbols of the Australian continent out in the wild; in the bush. I did everything I was told; I looked for the ‘favourite’ trees with fluorescent ribbons tied on them, I visited high density areas and searched every fork in every eucalypt in Victoria. Nil. Nada. Nothing. I was searching canopies in my sleep. Surely something as large as a labrador sat in a tree couldn’t be that hard to find. I even considered hiring a guide but decided persistence would pay off. It did.

Over the other side of the gorge was a Koala. It was difficult to find but easy to see; if that makes sense.  It stood out like a shilling up a sweep’s arse. (I’m allowed to use words like arse ‘cos I’m in Oz) Not the tree hugging full frame I wanted but hey, who’s complaining? I’m not. Time to crack open a tinny.




They breed ’em big in Victoria. Several thousand Grey headed Flying Foxes were extremely entertaining especially the mothers with young squabbling for ‘tree room’



When you approach Eastern Grey Kangaroos I found out you need to exercise a little field craft. If you don’t you can cause a stampede! Eventually I managed to get close without causing everything to disappear back into the bush.


Deep dark chambers

Something endearing about those deep dark eyes. So young, so beautiful. A new beginning.

Photo taken from behind barriers from a sensible distance with a very long lens.


Just the best day ever

So here we are. The end of the year. Some big changes for me in the last quarter; but what of the year in total, what were the best bits? Well, there were many that’s for sure. On the tours we had all the usual aspects of a visit to central Scotland in April with even some spring Waxwings making an appearance, followed by some astounding mammals in May; Salmon tossing Bottlenose Dolphins and Badgers you could have touched being the highlights. The trip to Mull in May gave us Eagles a plenty with some other notable raptors and auk sightings.  The Kites put on their usual display in a Welsh June with several dolphins thrown in. A summer tour to the Farne islands never disappoints and once again it lived up to its reputation. All this was capped off with a good scoop of rare birds on Scillies.

Day tours in Norfolk and beyond were again exceptional with some notable highlights of breeding Black winged Stilts and Cattle Egrets. Migration it has to be said was a little slow on the passerine front but seabirds and wildfowl came through in droves.

Personally there have been a couple of days that stand out in the memory. Seeing Blainville’s Beaked Whales in Madeira has to rank up there for sure. Madeira is a beautiful island and just kept giving. However, it was the South Atlantic in January that took my heart. One day in particular; 15th January and a ferry ride to Magdalena Island. The Commerson’s Dolphins, the Sei Whales, penguins, waders, passerines and the sheer biomass … and so much more. A memorable day which couldn’t be beaten.




I’m always telling my guests ‘NEVER delete photographs in the camera’. Have a good look at them on a big screen first. It can pay dividends. I’m so glad I listened to my own advice in January of this year when I was in the South Atlantic. Standing on the lower observation deck I could see splashing in the far distance. I couldn’t make out what was the cause but I fired off a few shots to look at later. I then got distracted with shearwaters and Albatrosses. I have to admit I almost deleted the shots as on the face of it they didn’t reveal anything during a quick scan on the back of the camera. It wasn’t until I returned home in February I found something quite startling.

Not a great photo, I have to admit, but there on close scrutiny quite clearly was the shape of a dolphin. A little careful processing and there you have it … an Hourglass Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus cruciger) These babies are quite small rarely seen dolphins. First identified in 1824 from drawings; despite years of whaling in the 20th century only three specimens had been found up to 1960. Up to 2010 only 6 complete and 14 partial specimens had ever been examined.



A trip over the border into Suffolk gave us a few Mandarin and something I’ve never seen before. Looking like something spectoristic on the heath … the ghost of Christmas past? No an albino Highland Cow!! How cool is that?

Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone that reads ‘Letter from Norfolk’ and the posts on Facebook a very peaceful Christmas


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January 2018
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